Scrubs

With a nod, Robert went under the bar counter for a moment and pulled out a green beer bottle. He flipped off the top with a bottle opener and placed it in front of me. I thanked him and he replied with a thumbs up before going to check on his other patrons. I held the beer bottle with both hands and looked at it, rubbing away any condensation with my thumbs.

Quinton Einstein. And before you ask, he had no relation to THAT Einstein.

A simple man in his mid-thirties. Didn’t drink a lot nor did he smoke anything. He went to work everyday on time, barely took sick and vacation days, and was on good terms with friends, family, and co-workers. He had a bad eating habit in his teenage years, based on his medical records, but it wasn’t anything outrageous. Besides, he was a teenager, they’re designed to have iron stomachs. A man with a nice build and very respectable, most people believed that he wouldn’t even try to kill a fly in his home. Unfortunately, it seemed like lung cancer ran in his family history. Looked like he was one of the unlucky ones who had to go through it. He had a family behind him every step of the way.

And yet, I was the last person he saw and spoke to.

I picked the beer up and quickly chugged down half of the bottle without taking a breath. Having just downed a glass of tequila, that beer did nothing to me; if I really wanted do, I could have chugged the entire bottle. But no matter how bad of a day it was in the hospital, I had to maintain my own honor within myself. I put the beer back down and just sat at the bar, trying not to let the day dwell on my mind.

I sat there, letting the calm rhythm of the music on the sound system play. At eight at night, this place is usually already crowded to the brim with people eating, drinking, and having a good time. Shouting from just across the table, the other servers living it up and having fun with customers, and the occasional drunk blonde passing out at random, those were the usual sights. But tonight, it was rather somber and quiet. Aside for my usual self, there was another man sitting at the far end of the bar closest to the door. Two tables both sat couples, probably just out tonight as a quick diner date. Aside from having both dirt cheap and expensive alcohol, the bar was well-known for its food. Sometimes I found myself walking in just to eat and not drink.

But with Robert around, drinking was almost expected.

I turned and gazed around the bar, “Quiet night, huh? I don’t have to yell to have a conversation with you.”

Robert let out a sigh as he leaned back against the counters behind him, “As much as I enjoy a quiet night, it hurts my pocket money. No tips means no extra spending cash.”

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